Boris Johnson set to avoid new Covid restrictions this week as only 789 patients are on ventilators

Boris Johnson set to avoid new Covid restrictions this week as only 789 patients are on ventilators

01/02/2022

MINISTERS are bullish that there is no need to add any more Covid restrictions to fight the new Omicron wave. 

No10 is set to review current restrictions this week but are not expected to make any changes. 

Health minister Ed Agar said hospitalisations are not crippling the NHS – although he expects them to rise but revealed that only 789 people on ventilators. 

He said: "I'm seeing nothing in the data right in front of me in the immediate situation, that suggests a need for further restrictions."

"We need cool, calm heads. We need to look at the data and we need to do everything possible to avoid any restrictions – restrictions or curbs must be the absolute last resort.”

The minister said Boris Johnson and Health Secretary Sajid Javid are monitoring the data every day. 

It comes as a string of hugely positive studies show Omicron IS milder than other strains, with the first official UK report revealing the risk of hospitalisation is 50 to 70 per cent lower than with Delta.

Covid booster jabs protect against Omicron and offer the best chance to get through the pandemic, health officials have repeatedly said.

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The Sun's Jabs Army campaign is helping get the vital extra vaccines in Brits' arms to ward off the need for any new restrictions.

Current Plan B measures – for Covid passes and masks in some settings – will be reviewed this week but insiders are not expecting anything to change.

Mr Agar said that he did expect to see the number of patients in hospital to increase with cases numbers so high. 

He said: “So we're in a much stronger position than we were a year ago… but yes, I would expect the hospitalisations to continue to go up for a little while yet.” 

But as cases continue to hover around the 180,000 daily new infections, the minister ruled out plans to cut isolation to just five days. 

The USA and Greece has slashed home quarantine for asymptomatic sufferers to five days, while Brits can go free after seven – if they have two negative lateral flow tests.

Current restrictions mean businesses, the NHS and schools are all being crippled by staff absences – with new data showing one in ten staff off sick in the health service, 

He said: “The clinical advice or scientific advice we have is around, move it from 10 as we have done to seven days. 

“We haven't received scientific advice that it should go lower than that.”

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